Hamas, Israel, entrench positions at Gaza truce talks

Talks to reach a Gaza truce were expected to resume Sunday after officials from the Hamas Islamist organisation and Israel publicly disagreed over demands to end their seven-month war.

While mediation took place in Egypt, the head of the U.N.'s World Food Programme said "there is famine" in northern Gaza, and appealed for a ceasefire.

The war's impact has been increasingly felt around the world as pro-Palestinian university students from Australia to Mexico and Europe follow the example of protest encampments set up in the United States.

Gaza's bloodiest-ever war began following Hamas's unprecedented Oct. 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,654 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

An AFP correspondent and witnesses on Sunday reported shelling and gunfire in the Gaza City area, helicopter fire in central and southern Gaza, and a missile strike on a house in the Rafah area.

The Palestinian civilian toll has strained ties between Israel and its main military supplier and ally the United States.

Nonetheless, Washington's Secretary of State Antony Blinken said "the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is Hamas."

Negotiators have proposed a 40-day pause in the fighting and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, according to details released by Britain.

It would be the first such truce since a week-long ceasefire saw 105 hostages released last November in exchange for Palestinians held by Israel.

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